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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Nov;97(3):289-98. Epub 2005 Sep 6.

Characterization of the guinea pig 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/Delta5-Delta4-isomerase expressed in the adrenal gland and gonads.

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Cancer Genomics Laboratory, Oncology and Molecular Endocrinology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Qu├ębec and Laval University, Canada.


The guinea pig adrenal gland, analogous to the human, possesses the capacity to synthesize C(19) steroids. In order to further understand the control of guinea pig adrenal steroidogenesis we undertook the characterization of the guinea pig 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase/Delta(5)-Delta(4)-isomerase (3beta-HSD) expressed in the adrenal gland. A cDNA clone encoding guinea pig 3beta-HSD isolated from a guinea pig adrenal library is predicted to encode a protein of 373 amino acid residues and 41,475Da. Ribonuclease protection assay suggests that this cDNA corresponds to the predominant, if not the sole, mRNA species detectable in total RNA from the guinea pig adrenal gland, ovary and testis. The guinea pig 3beta-HSD shows a similar affinity for both pregnenolone and dehydroepiandrosterone, and in addition, a 17beta-HSD type II-like activity was also observed. A phylogenetical analysis of the 3beta-HSD gene family demonstrates that the guinea pig is in a parallel branch to the myomorpha group supporting the hypothesis that the guinea pig lineage has branched off after the divergence among primates, artiodactyls and rodents, suggesting the paraphyly of the order rodentia.

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